On March 20 – 22, 2015 the World Kickboxing and Karate Association (WKA) hosts the WKA Nationals tournament in Richmond. The WKA has been hosting the event since 2001. This year they anticipate 450 competitors from over 100 schools in 25 states. Saturday, March 21 the divisions will fight down to the finals. Sunday, March 22 will consist of the finals.
I was able to interview Brian Crenshaw, the USA President of WKA, and he provided some helpful information about the event for those of us who don’t know much about it. All amateur fighters can compete in the WKA Nationals. There are two classes: Novice and Open. Fighters in Novice class have three or fewer wins in their fighting career, and fighters in Open class have three or more wins in their fighting career.
There are three fighting disciplines represented at the Nationals:
– Glory Rules Kickboxing involves punches kicks (legs, body, and head), and clinch/knee for five seconds
– Thaiboxing involves punches, kicks (legs, body, and head), elbows below the neck, and clinch/knee as long as continuous activity
– Full Rules Muay Thai involves punches, kicks (legs, body, and head), elbows (with elbow pads) to all legal target areas, and clinch/knee work encouraged
Those of you who have participated in the event in previous years may want to take note of some changes the WKA is implementing this year. In order to make registration and check-in as smooth as possible for coaches and competitors, the registration deadline will be firm. In the past the organization accepted late registrations and even a few on the day of the event, but they found that this slowed down the process for everyone. This year competitors need to make sure they are registered by the deadline so they can compete.
Early registration is encouraged because each weight class is limited to 16 competitors this year. Competitors also need to choose a check-in time when they register so that check-in runs smoothly. Appointments will occur every 15 minutes starting at 10 am with 10 competitors per slot. When competitors come to check-in, they need to bring their confirmation so that they can complete check-in.
Coaches and Corners will check-in and receive their arm bands in a separate area to eliminate chaos. They are also encouraged to register early to make their check-in hassle free. Friday evening there is a mandatory Coaches/Corner meeting, and each gym needs to send a representative to go over the procedures, rules, and bracketing.
Anyone who registers to compete needs to bring their own gear to warm up in. Tournament equipment can only be issued to competitors in the ring and the two teams waiting to fight.
The WKA asks that all coaches and competitors register early to ensure the event’s success. The organization is also looking for volunteers to help with the event, and they ask anyone interested in helping to contact them.
Mr. Crenshaw shared that this year the WKA is introducing a second tournament in August. It is an “Open” International tournament called the North American Opens that will last three days. It will allow US and Canadian fighters to face fighters from other countries without any travel abroad. So far 10 countries are committed to sending teams to compete. If you’re interested in competing, check their website often for more details.
Note for competitors out of our academy competing in the 2015 WKA Nationals Championship: Please register under our sister Thai Boxing academy, “Disciple MMA” for this event to prevent having to fight against our team members at Disciple.